- President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday evening, declaring a national state of disaster
- On Monday morning, the president's letter to South Africa focused on the coronavirus
- The leader reassured the nation that the challenges facing the country would pass
President Cyril Ramaphosa's focus was turned once again to the coronavirus pandemic in his weekly letter to South Africa.
Commenting on the situation, Ramaphosa noted that the world was dealing with a public health emergency on a scale not witnessed in over a century:
"It knows no geographical or territorial boundaries, has infected both young and old, and is on the rise in developed and developing countries alike. As screening and testing is scaled up, the number of infections in South Africa is expected to rise. Yesterday, I declared a national state of disaster, a measure proportionate to the severity of the threat to our people, to our society and to our economy."
Briefly.co.za reported that Ramaphosa had declared a national state of disaster on Sunday evening, detailing the measures the state would take in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.
The president explained that this decision will help protect the nation from potential damage:
"This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism and to set up emergency, rapid and effective response systems. This virus will be extremely disruptive, and our priority is to safeguard the health and well-being of all South Africans."
While the health of citizens was a priority, Ramaphosa highlighted the economic fallout:
"We also have to address the inevitable economic fallout. We must expect a decline in exports, a drop in tourist arrivals and a severe impact on production, business viability and job creation and retention."
In an attempt to pre-emptively deal with this issue, cabinet will be finalising interventions:
"Cabinet is in the process of finalising a comprehensive package of interventions to mitigate the expected impact of Covid-19 on our economy. This is being done in consultation with business, labour and other relevant institutions."
Ramaphosa assured citizens that the country is prepared to effectively deal with the coronavirus:
"It was Louis Pasteur who said that fortune favours the prepared mind. South Africa is prepared, and has been so for some time. South Africa has a positive track record in managing public health emergencies. We have the knowledge, the means and the expertise. Our scientists and epidemiologists are world-class."
The president called for compassion towards the vulnerable despite this 'difficult time':
"Let us lower the wing of compassion to those who are infected, and to those who have returned home from high-risk countries. Let us assist those in need and those more vulnerable, instead of shunning them. We will remain faithful to the values of tolerance and respect that define us as a people. This is a difficult time. And yet it is in times of adversity that our strength is revealed."
Ramaphosa concluded with a message of not only hope but determination in the face of uncertainty:
"We will act decisively, with determination and with purpose. We will act as a collective, for it is upon the actions of every South African that the success of our efforts depend. The Thuma Mina moment is upon us, perhaps as never before. This too shall pass. We shall overcome."
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